Wednesday, March 23, 2011

HIV in Mexico: ADPi event

Last night, Alpha Delta Pi held an HIV education workshop with Alfredo Hernandez, one of my new favorite people. Alfredo told us his inspiring story about growing up gay in Mexico, exploring his sexuality in college and then falling in love with a student from Boston studying Spanish in Mexico. The catch? That student was a woman.

When Alfredo went back to Boston with his wife, immigration services tested him for HIV, and he found out he had the virus. Alfredo swears he knows he contracted the virus in college, as he engaged in risky behavior with no knowledge of condoms or STDs.

His wife was negative since they used condoms as their method of birth control, and his wife's family surprised him by showing solidarity and support. Alfredo soon began understanding his sexual orientation, and now, he lives with his partner, who is negative, and travels the country educating people about safe sex.

Alfredo said that awareness about HIV and practicing safe sex has only improved slightly since he was in college in the 1980s, and mostly in a few major cities. He also observed that lots of students he talks to across the country seem to get their knowledge about HIV and AIDS from each other, proliferating myths.

Instead of asking your friends, the best way to educate yourself about HIV and other STDs is by asking your doctor. You can also visit websites Alfredo recommends below:

Alfredo answered any questions we had with humor, compassion and genuine concern for our own sexual health. He now works at the Education Development Center in Newton. Thanks to ADPi for a great, educational event!

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